Michael LeBlanc Discusses RCC STORE Conference 2022 as it Returns In Person


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As many will attest, the retail industry in Canada has been profoundly impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  

Because of the changing retail landscape, it’s more important now than ever that people in the retail industry gather to discuss those changes and what they mean for the future.

“Retail Council of Canada’s annual STORE Conference, this year on May 31 to June 1, 2022 at the Toronto Congress Centre, is the perfect occasion for the industry to bring everyone together to discuss the critical topics affecting retail today,” said retail expert Michael LeBlanc, Founder and President of M.E. LeBlanc & Company, top retail influencer, podcaster, and Senior Retail Advisor with Retail Council of Canada.

“The modern retail customer is savage and a savvy operator. Roger Martin, who is a favourite retail strategist of mine, talks about consumer behaviours as declining assets on your balance sheet. What they used to do, how they used to shop, and what they value, has been altered if not transformed by the COVID era. The challenge in front of us is to understand the difference between short-term accommodations to these unusual times in our lives, versus longer-term systematic changes of consumer behaviours and structure. This to me is what it all boils down to, and what – as an industry – we need to address,” observed LeBlanc. 

“We know that COVID accelerated a bunch of things – ecommerce of course being the poster child for that. We know some of that is sticking around. But, what we know less about, is what behaviours have changed forever. I think what’s irrevocably been changed, in terms of how consumers shop, is the role of social media platforms, the role of influencers, and that the “pre-shop” element has become even more interesting and, in some ways, more complex.

“As I often tell retailers I speak with, ‘I don’t know what you’re spending on social media or influencers, but double it, just double it’. And here’s the paradox; those platforms are getting so expensive that retailers are now turning to stores for customer acquisition.

“The cost of customer acquisition was so high through the social platforms that the large marginal dollar is now better spent on a great location, in a great mall, with lots of great traffic. Fascinating, isn’t it? Very different from pre-pandemic. Very different from 10 years ago. These are topics that will be explored at RCC STORE 22, and which I know will sparks tons of new ideas and discussions,” emphasized LeBlanc.

More information on RCC STORE 22 can be found on the STORE Conference website.

In past years prior to COVID, over 2,500 retail leaders from across Canada regularly attended the STORE Conference.

This year, more than 75 speakers will talk about today’s pressing retail challenges. The agenda will include sessions on: innovation in store operations, leveraging the newest technology frontiers, changing values for employee and customer experiences, customer insights, and supply chain fortification.   

“Right now, more than ever, our industry needs the kind of insights that RCC’s STORE Conferences are so famous for initiating. The combination of world-renowned retail thought leaders’ information-packed presentations, exhibitors sharing cutting-edge retail solutions, plus the informal conversations that are remarkably easy to initiate at STORE will be especially powerful this year, said LeBlanc.  

“I can’t stress this enough for retailers. It’s the chance to get your team together in a retail learning environment. Many head office support teams have been virtual, are now moving to hybrid, and are looking for opportunities to get people together to build teams. Team rapport and ideas don’t happen in the boardroom or head office anymore. Bring everybody you can to STORE. Get them together. Not at a random event, but at the best-in-class retail event.”

LeBlanc said RCC STORE 22 is also an opportunity to help build professional networks and retail careers.  

“You can’t learn that stuff from YouTube and we’ve been missing the in-person learning experience for a couple of years,” said LeBlanc. “If you want to develop your career, develop your insights, and develop your team, come to RCC STORE 22. “ 

To be part of this year’s in-person RCC STORE Conference in Toronto, visit https://storeconference.ca for tickets. Take advantage the advanced rates by booking by April 29, 2022 and save $100.

*Partner content. To work with Retail Insider, email: craig@retail-insider.com

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.


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